25 Talent Show Ideas for Kids

Helping kids get ready for a talent show may seem like a daunting task, but there are a lot of fun ways to show off their creativity and skills. Here are 25 ideas to get their inspiration juices flowing and ensure a standing ovation (or at least a few oohs and aahs!) from the astonished audience.

Pets and poetry and paints, oh my! 

  1.  Books in Motion - Use an easy reader book from the library to act out a simple story. A great title is “The Berenstain Bears’ School Talent Show” by Mike Berenstain with characters donning a bear mask (and one dog mask, read the book to find out why!) and acting out the talents as the narrator reads the story. 
  2. Poetry Slam - With a tipped beret hat and a bit of attitude, aspiring poets can turn their written words into a performance that expresses age-appropriate themes with unique ideas and clever vocabulary. 
  3. Pet Tricks - Before planning an act around your pet, check with organizers to see if this is allowed. If you get the green light, show off your pet’s agility skills using a combination of hoops and ramps (and some delicious treats, of course!). Add matching outfits for pet and owner and this act will definitely be “paw-pular” with the audience! 
  4. Historical Skit or Rap - Create your own Hamilton-inspired skit or song. You could even include a few key events written into the skit or rap that your school has been studying recently or take a famous speech and set it to a rap beat. 
  5. Dad Jokes Only - If you love a good (or let’s be honest, BAD!) dad joke, grab a friend with a drum and another with a cymbal and you can create a fun act including a buh-dum-ching after every corny punch line! 
  6. Art in Action - If you have a talent for drawing a particular object or animal, grab an oversized canvas, an easel, and some markers or paint for a creative talent show act. Set your work to music, add a few choreographed arm movements and create a live masterpiece for your audience to admire. 

Make the stage your dance floor 

  1. Movie Dance Scene - From musicals to romantic comedies, some of the most memorable movie moments are dance numbers. Use one of these scenes (think Sound of Music, High School Musical) for inspiration to create a short routine, it doesn’t have to be the same choreography but can capture the spirit of the dance.
  2. Glow Stick Dance - Gather enough necklace-length glow sticks and black outfits for your dance troupe. Any music will do: a country dance or ballet perhaps! Then create your glowstick forms on the black outfits, choreograph, and turn the lights out for a unique dance routine!
  3. Teacher Bobble Heads - Enlarged teacher face pictures put over the faces of students and doing a crazy dance? Yes, it’s hilarious and yes, it needs to be in your next school talent show!
  4. Internet Dance Mash Up - With a plethora of minute-long dances on the web, you could mash up several popular group dances and even invite your audience to join in for your finale.
  5. Trolls Dance - Grab your pink and blue troll wigs and learn a dance from the movie, in particular “Can’t Stop the Feeling” would be fun with a large group.
  6. Dancing Babies - This partner skit is sure to delight the crowd. Participants poke their heads (baby hat and pacifier are a plus) through slits in a sheet that is hung up to conceal the participants. while a baby outfit (stuffing the tummy area helps create the illusion of a real baby body) is attached on the sheet right below the participant’s head. Participants put their arms through the baby outfit armholes and can either control their own legs or allow the legs to be controlled by another person behind the curtain. The internet has lots of fun ideas to craft your own baby party onstage! 

Show your sporty side  

  1. Ball Handling Skills - If you have fun skills like the ability to bounce a golf ball on your golf club, dribble a basketball in creative ways or juggle a soccer ball, you have the basis for a fun talent show act. Use well-practiced choreography and add music that has some well-timed stops and tempo changes to create a real crowd-pleasing act.
  2. Skateboard Tricks - Though you may be limited by space, choreograph some tricks to music and add a few skateboarding friends to keep the visual element of your act ever-changing. 
  3. Jump Rope Routine - You can do a partner routine with short ropes or add more people and some long rope tricks. With some peppy music and fun outfits, this is an easy-to-learn option.

Steal the show with these magic tricks 

Combine these tricks with a few more favorites to create your “(Insert Your Name) The Great” magic act! 

  1. Floating Ketchup Packet - Use a large, clear plastic bottle filled with water with some air at the top, place the ketchup packet inside and replace the lid. To make the ketchup sink, stare intently at the bottle and say “down” but what makes it lower in the water is you slightly squeezing the bottle. To have it “rise”, slowly release the pressure. Practice so that the squeeze is imperceivable. 
  2. Rolling Magic Wand - This can be done with a wand or pencil. Simply place the wand in front of you and practice moving it by letting out a gentle breath to roll it forward. Hover your hand over the wand and look at it intently while it moves. Practice at home so you can keep your face looking the same when you blow as when you are not blowing. 
  3. Chopped Banana - Take a larger sewing needle and poke it carefully through the banana skin, gently moving the needle from side to side to slice the banana from the inside. Do this same procedure on the opposite side of the banana to ensure the banana is cut thoroughly. When you perform the trick, pretend to “cut” the banana with your mind power and then unpeel the banana to reveal the slices. 
  4. Hand Magnet - Appear to have a wood-attracting magnet in your hand with this trick. Grab a pencil in your left hand. Next, grab your left wrist with your right hand and press your right index finger onto the pencil to hold it securely while wrapping the rest of your right-hand fingers around your left wrist. Open your left hand wide so that it seems the pencil is now stuck to the left hand. You may need to turn to the side so that the back of your left hand is always towards the audience. You can even wiggle the fingers of your left hand - the pencil will seem to magically stick to your hand! 
  5. Disappearing Toothpick - Use a brightly colored toothpick and tape it to your thumb’s fingernail going down along your thumb. When you hold your fist closed (thumb tucked inside the fist), the toothpick should stand up and look like you are grasping it but when you quickly open your hand and show the audience your palm, the toothpick disappears (but really it’s still taped on the back of your thumbnail). You can easily make it “reappear” by closing your hand in a fist again with your thumb tucked into the fist. 

Get in tune with your musical side 

  1. Popular Song Rewrite - One way to let comedic chops shine is to take a popular song and rewrite lyrics with a humorous twist in the chorus or a parody of the entire song. 
  2. Ukulele Band - The ukulele is a fairly easy instrument to learn if you are short on time and want to showcase musical talent. Your school music teacher may have a ukulele you can borrow (and show you how to tune it, which is important) to learn some favorite songs from the internet. Ask some friends to form a trio with you or add different instruments like a hand drum and egg shaker to create your own talent show band. 
  3. Sing Acapella - If you have a penchant for perfect pitch, practice a popular or traditional ballad to be sung with only the silence of the room to emphasize your unique vocal talents. Guaranteed to be particularly moving if you choose something that is special to your area of the country or season of the year. 
  4. No-instrument Band - If you can whistle a happy tune and have a beatboxing friend, create an instrument-free band with just the instruments you create with an easily recognizable song like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen or “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. 
  5. Bucket Drumming - With a few sizes of buckets and your rhythmic friends, create an act that showcases your drumming skills. Be sure to add some creative choreography and drum-flipping and spinning for extra fun!
Talent shows are a great showcase for individual talents as well as an amazing opportunity for kids to work creatively together and make a magical memory. Use one of these ideas to get out there and put your uniquely talented foot forward — your audience is waiting! 

Julie David is a freelance writer, educator, and worship pastor's wife from the Midwest who likes warm hugs.